Monday, November 26, 2007

GMA Update - Call To Arms

I was making Sydney lunch on Monday when I got a call. It was work. They asked if Sydney could be at the Resort at 4:00 PM today.

Apparently our regular 4:30 PM cruise was going to be used by Good Morning, America to film some things for the show on Wednesday morning. The cruise was woefully lacking in people signed up for it so they were calling employees with children to see if they could make it for the cruise.

So we switched our cruise from Wednesday to today.

It was a bit of a pain in the butt. Not with scheduling and Anne trying to get Sydney down for the cruise. But because they were filming things for the show which means we were on GMA time and not regular cruise time. We were about ten minutes late leaving on the cruise. When we got to the North Pole it was almost a half hour over there as various things were filmed. Santa and Mrs. Claus were brought on the boat so we could film with them. On the way back we had to slow down and steer close to the 5:30 PM cruise coming out. We had to wave at them and they waved back as we passed very, very close. Then we took another, very slow trip around the boardwalk so they could film the lights.

All in all it wasn't a bad thing. But with the two year old it was a bit challenging at times and long.

Sydney did well overall. She wasn't real excited about Santa, though. She got a little bit freaked out by him even though she was never that close to him. (She did really like the candy cane Mrs. Claus gave her. She had a death grip on it for the rest of the cruise.)

When they came on board to film we all gathered around Santa. He said something like, "Merry Christmas from the Coeur d'Alene Resort in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and," and then we all said "Good Morning, America," and cheered.

While we were filming that I was behind Santa and just over his left shoulder. I'm holding Sydney up. Anne is on my left.

They had three takes on that. I have no idea which one they'll use, but probably the second or third one. Hopefully the second. That's the one where Sydney was actually looking toward the camera. The other two she had her head turned away and buried in my shoulder. Ah, well.

If they use the shot of us waving at the other boat you'll probably see us, too. But since we were facing away from the camera I don't know what kind of shot it was or where we are in it.

And if you can't recognize Sydney after all the pictures you've seen here you can at least look for her in her hat.

I'm not sure how late I'm working tomorrow night. Grandma and Grandpa M are in town. They said they would sleep over here tomorrow so I don't have to worry about getting home right away. I think I mentioned in my last post that I'm working late Tuesday night because of this thing. The taping starts at 4:00 AM local time.

There's probably more I could tell about this, but none of it is immediately important and I'm tired and slightly mushy-brained. Next post should have some pictures in it, but probably none of the GMA experience.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good Morning, America

The Friday after Thanksgiving each year is the annual Lighting Ceremony at the Coeur d'Alene Resort (where I work).

Around 5:00 PM the holiday parade starts. When the parade is over (pretty much right in front of the Resort) there's a speech given. It's usually some officer of the corporation that owns the Resort. There is then a big fireworks show (better than the Fourth of July fireworks) immediately followed the lighting of the light displays.

We have over one million lights in various displays up for the holidays. Our cruise boats on the lake take a trip to the "North Pole" each day from the Lighting Ceremony through New Year's. They go around the Resort to see the lights and then head across the lake. Santa and Mrs. Claus greet the visitors and there's a whole "village" of light displays set up over there for people to see. (You never actually leave the boat. Santa and Mrs. Claus are real people, but they talk to you from the shore of the "North Pole".)

We really do Christmas in a big way at the Resort.

Good Morning, America will be doing a live broadcast from the Resort this Wednesday, November 28. And, yes, GMA is an east coast-based show. We're in the Pacific time zone. That means that they will be broadcasting live really early in the morning.

You can read about the broadcast and the rest of the Holiday In Lights stuff we do at the Resort website.

I will be working very late Tuesday night. With all the prep work going into this show they want manager coverage through the night. I have to stay until 1:00 AM or so. (It would be later, but I have to be home when Anne goes to work.) But I'd rather stay at work late than have to wake up to be there at 2:00 AM like my boss is doing. (Even though Anne does something similar every single day, I would still rather stay up late than get up early.)

In other related news, Anne brought Sydney down to the Resort on Friday for the Lighting Ceremony. They ate dinner and then watched the parade. I got off work and met them and we watched the fireworks together.

We were a little concerned about Sydney. We thought the loud bangs of the fireworks might frighten her a little. But our fears were unfounded. Sydney loved them. She watched the whole time with wide eyes and a big smile. She thanked us after it was done and said she had fun.

Then we had to get home. The crowd was huge this year. Quite possibly the biggest crowd I've seen for a Lighting Ceremony. (Thanks, I'm sure, to GMA going to be there on Wednesday.) That meant lots of traffic to fight through to get home. It took us about an hour, most of that sitting in traffic on surface streets.

When we got home Sydney told me thank you again and once again said how much fun she had.

This Wednesday - in the late afternoon well after GMA is done and gone - we're going to go on the North Pole cruise. They like employees to go on the cruise each year to be familiar with it. So the three of us are going and Sydney can get a taste of this Santa person. We've been talking him up a little bit, but she doesn't seem to know or care that much about Christmas. Well, other than the lights. And the fireworks.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Post Halloween Post

It's been so long since I updated and a lot has happened that I'm not sure where to start and what to include here.

Grandma B and Aunt Marta were both here over Halloween. I actually have no pictures of Aunt Marta with Sydney. Ack! I have several with Grandma B. I even have a video.

Every time I see this video it makes me smile so it seems like a good place to start.

Grandma and Sydney were talking into plastic cup pieces (Grandma's is the big bucket the LEGO Quatros are kept in) to make their voices sound echo-ey.

The week before Halloween Sydney got a card in the mail. It was a Halloween card from Great-Aunt Carrie (Grandma B's sister). There were stickers in it. Sydney LOVES stickers.

On Halloween I worked during the day so I could go trick-or-treating with Sydney. All day we kept mentioning to Sydney about putting on her costume and going out after dinner. All day Sydney rebuffed our comments with general disinterest and sometimes flat out refusal. After dinner the time came. When it was suggested we put on her costume Sydney got quite upset.

She cried and clung to Mommy. She did not want to do this. She was finally calmed down and talked into it. It was a matter of convincing her that we were going to go outside. She likes going outside, so didn't she want to go outside. Yes, she did. But to go outside we have to put the costume on. Didn't she want to put the costume on? Well, yes she did.

So we finally got Sydney into her costume and away we went.

Sydney the Bunny Trick or Treating

With the four of us someone had to stay home to hand out candy. That was Aunt Marta. The plan was to go down the street and then come back. We would relieve Aunt Marta and she would get to go trick or treating with Sydney the other way around the block.

It started out well and fine. Sydney had fun. She was a little shy, but she's well enough known that the neighbors who were home knew her and were friendly. The first house we went to across the street let her grab her own candy and take second grab, too. That led us to reining in her enthusiasm a little bit at the rest of the houses.

Down at the end of the block and just around the corner is the "Halloween house". The people there go all-out for Halloween. They have costumed dummies and decorations all over the front yard and front of the house. There was a front-page story about them in the paper the day before Halloween (small town news). Apparently the inside of the house is decked out for Halloween in the same manner.

Whenever we go somewhere we have to drive by that house even is we don't drive directly in front of it. That is a constant, "Look. Halloween!" comment from Sydney. So we got to the end of the block and worked our way to that house.


While the Halloween-crazy lady was very nice she was dressed up for Halloween. She was all in black and had her face painted in black and white skull fashion. Sydney didn't like that. She called an almost immediate end to trick or treating. Home we went. Once we got home she didn't even want to go to the door to help hand out candy because she was getting upset with the costumes.

Thursdays Sydney has two classes she goes to. In the morning I take her to Romp and Roll. It's really just a play date held by the city's Parks & Recreation department. But they have some arts and crafts there, it gets us out of the house, and she really enjoys it.

In the afternoons Anne takes her to a swim class. The day after Halloween was one of the few times I've had a chance to attend swim class.

Over the weekends we get to go outside and actually get some things accomplished in the yard. Lately this has involved raking leaves. And playing in the piles of leaves.

While Grandma B was here she got to play in the leaves, too.

Sydney Buries Grandma B In Leaves

And Sydney jumped in to play with Grandma B in the leaves.

Sydney And Grandma B In The Leaves

There's a short version of the highlights of the last several weeks. I'll leave you with one last video. This is Sydney doing her broccoli song and dance. At least up to the point where she realizes I'm recording her and she wants to see it.

(And, yes, she does really like broccoli.)